No.1 Cal Rugby has rematch against No.2 SMC in Rugby 15s National Semifinal
Golden Bears host the Gaels on Saturday at 1 pm PT
Last weekend, Cal Rugby started their postseason run by hosting Central Washington Wildcats in the Quarterfinal. As expected, Cal Golden Bears were triumphant by a 43-26 result.
Cal 43, CWU 26
4:00 – Central Washington 5
9:00 – Jack Manzo 5, Nate Salter 2
17:00 – Marcus Shankland 5, Nate Salter 2
30:00 – Jack Manzo 5, Nate Salter 2
37:00 – Marcus Shankland 5
39:00 – Marcus Shankland 5, Nate Salter 2
Halftime: Cal 33, CWU 5
50:00 – Marcus Shankland 5
60:00 – Central Washington 5, Central Washington 2
68:00 – Central Washington 5, Central Washington 2
73:00 – Tom Dixon 5
76:00 – Central Washington 5
Starters vs Central Washington:
1. Emilio Shea 2. Jack Manzo 3. Charlie Walsh 4. Sam Golla 5. Tom Dixon 6. Luke Freeman 7. Nathan Zylstra 8. Jason Severance 9. Henry Poon 10. Nate Salter 11. Marcus Shankland 12. Seth Purdey 13. Will Shankland 14. Nick Bloom 15. Max Schumacher
15:00 – Luke Ogburn
60:00 – Michael Puckett
63:00 – Max Clark
65:00 – Kevin Saunders, Alex Brundage
68:00 – Gavin Janis
74:00 – Jake Broekhuizen
78:00 -- Michael Perrone
After Central Washington scored the first try of the match, it was all Cal to build a 33-5 halftime lead. CWU found the try zone three times in the second half to make the final score look better, but the Bears had safely booked their ticket to the West Region Final/National Semifinal. Senior Marcus Shankland had an impressive comeback with three tries for his first match in several weeks after being out with an injury.
Playing at the same time as Cal vs. CWU over in Moraga, Saint Mary’s Gaels needed a late score to edge BYU by a 24-22 score. Collegiate Rugby fans will be treated to a second Cal vs. SMC match from Witter Rugby field in about a month. Cal edged SMC 31-24 on March 26th.
On the other half of the bracket, No.3 Army (a quarterfinal 39-18 winner over Life) will host Lindenwood (a 41-10 winner over Arkansas State). The winners of Cal/SMC and Army/Lindenwood will play in the national championship on April 30th from Houston, Texas.
One can expect another great contest between Cal and SMC. Both programs are familiar with one another. Cal’s win at home earlier this season allowed them to keep the home-field advantage for this rematch (since Cal is the better seed), that might make the difference again for the Golden Bears to advance.
Back in 2019, the last time when a D1A Rugby postseason was held, Cal needed a last-minute walk-off try from Sam Cusano to beat SMC 28-24 at this same stage (this match was hosted by SMC). D1A Rugby started to separate its playoff field into East vs. West starting in 2019. This is why we will have No.1 vs. No.2 and No.3 vs. No.4 this weekend.
Finally, Cal captain Sam Golla is one of four finalists for the Rudy Scholz Award.
Collegiate Rugby West Region Final (National Semifinal)
No.1 Cal Golden Bears vs. No.2 Saint Mary’s Gaels
Where: Witter Rugby Field (Berkeley, CA)
When: Saturday, April 23rd at 1 PM PT
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!
Final score is 35-26 in favor of the Gaels. SMC was the better team from start to finish, in discipline, effort, and execution. They thoroughly deserved this win today especially with the crowd that was behind them.
For sure this is the real Natty...#1 and #2 ranked teams will battle it out in a semi final. and CAL is not guaranteed a win. Timmy O'Obrien, who once played for CAL (and we were teammates on the very first 1980 National Championship Team) has been coaching St. Marys for a while. They have been a powerhouse for the last 10 years at least. The Natty's they won were not the same Championships that CAL won. In those days the best teams played for the Varsity Cup, which was considered the real Natty. St. Mary's did not play for the Varsity Cup and thus there were two different National Champions crowned each year. St. Mary's should have played for the Varsity Cup. It was recognized at the top of the heap in terms of the true Natty. I hope that helps understand the history.